A day after the alleged suicide by 26-year-old Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) research scholar in Munirka Vihar, the police have started inquest proceedings in the case. Police said on Tuesday that Muthukrishnan alias Krish, an MPhil student at Centre for Historical Studies, was under depression. However, the victim’s father Jeevanantham called for a CBI probe in the case alleging foul play.
Muthukrishnan earlier studied at University of Hyderabad and was a member of Ambedkar Students’ Union. His Facebook posts show that he knew Rohith Vemula and had been active during protests following his death, police said.
Sequence of events
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, DCP (south) Ishwar Singh said that the police received a call from Muthukrishnan’s friend around 5pm informing them about the suicide.
Muthukrishnan reportedly went to the house of his friend Goman Kim, a Korean national, in Munirka Vihar, Delhi, for lunch. When he reached his house, around 1pm, he was soaked in colour. “Goman told us that he asked Krish to wash off the colour and relax for a while as he looked tired. Krish reportedly told Goman that he was not in a good mood and that he had slept at 3am the previous night. Goman then asked him to freshen up and sleep for a while in his room till the lunch was ready,” DCP, South, Ishwar Singh said.
Muthukrishnan then retired to the room and locked it from inside. “Meanwhile, two of his other friends also joined. After the lunch was ready, they knocked at the door, but Krish did not respond. Thinking that he must be in deep sleep, the friends did not disturb him. However, as he did not open the door till 5pm, they got worried and started banging the door. One of his friends then peeped inside through a crack and saw Krish hanging from the fan. He had used a thin blanket to prepare the noose,” Singh said. “It is then that they made a PCR call,” he added.
Investigators said that in JNU, Muthukrishnan was not affiliated to any political party or group or union and was not found to be active in any political assembly inside the campus. He had reportedly joined the course in October and was staying in Jhelum hostel.
It was also found that recently Muthukrishnan had written five Facebook posts, the last one on March 10, in which he narrated an episode from his childhood to explain how Dalits are looked down upon. In this post, he recounts a time when he was travelling with his father carrying dry fish. He says that people in the bus looked down upon then and shunned them, because of the stench from the fish. In the post, he compares the dry fish to Dalits saying that they are also looked down upon.
“He has written five Facebook posts and all five seem interlinked. One is based on his life in Salem and others in Delhi. In a post on Professor Sukhdeo Singh Thorat, Muthukrishnan writes that he wanted to address students at admin block but because of the decision to ban protest, he could not,” a police officer said. Responding to this Thorat said, “Two days back I had gone to JNU to deliver a lecture so the boy in his Facebook post has mentioned that. He is also talking about the committee which was formed under the Ministry of Health which I had chaired after a suicide of a student at AIIMS. He is talking about how that committee guidelines have not been implemented. There are basically two references that he has quoted.”
The police will write to Facebook demanding access to Muthukrishnan’s account. “His last post was on March 10. The time between March 10 and March 13 is critical for probe. We will investigate who all he met in these two-and-a-half days. Who did he play Holi with and who all was he in touch with. We have accessed his call detail records and SMS details. The FSL has also been roped in and they will search his hostel room for clues,” a police officer said.
Krish had done his masters and first year of M Phil from University of Hyderabad. At UoH, he was a ‘core member’ of Hyderabad Ambedkar Students’ Union and knew Rohith Vemula. Four years back, he had applied for masters programme but was rejected. According to his post, he was asked one question and rejected due to weak grammar.